SoFi scores conditional approval for bank charter from US regulator

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Personal finance company SoFi has won conditional approval in its bid to create a nationally chartered bank.

SoFi Bank's conditional approval was announced late Tuesday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). In a statement, the OCC said that it "conditionally approved applications from Social Finance Inc. (SoFi) to create SoFi Bank, National Association (SoFi Bank, N.A.), as a full service national bank headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, Utah."

"As part of the transaction, SoFi Bank, N.A. will acquire Golden Pacific Bank, National Association, a national bank insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation," the OCC continued.

As S&P Global Intelligence noted last year, SoFi's approach has reflected the dynamics existing today around the efforts by fintech and crypto companies to obtain national bank charters in the US. 

Notably, the terms of the conditional approval explicitly state that SoFi Bank can't offer crypto services unless the OCC gives the nod. The section references an interpretive letter published last November regarding the types of crypto-related activities federally regulated banks can engage in. 

"While the Operating Agreement is in effect, the Resulting Bank shall not engage in any crypto-asset activities or services currently performed by SoFi Inc., or any other cryptoasset activities or services, unless it has received prior written determination of no supervisory objection from the OCC under the procedures set out in the Operating Agreement," the document states. 

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